RYMAN DIVISION ONE SOUTH
Tues 8th April 2014
by David Harrison
For this important "six pointer" away to lowly adversaries Crawley Down, Casuals' manager Matt Howard introduced new signing Michael Gutteridge, an 18 year old left back from Woking. He also planned to include Newcastle based Steve Goddard who can only play in mid week but whose goals have been a feature of the club's recent good form. But in the warm up Goddard tweaked a troubled hamstring and dropped out. Into his place stepped the ever dependable Joel Thompson who very soon put his own dramatic imprint on the match.
Crawley Down, with a new manager and virtually a new team after some dramatic walkouts which cost them an early season place in the top half of the league, and brought recent heavy defeats, began with purpose that belied their bottom but one position. Inside forward Baff Addae was always prominent. But Casuals' rearguard was looking good, with central defenders Danny Dudley and Joe Hicks ever sure, flanked by Tom Williams and newcomer Gutteridge, quickly settled in and comfortable.
At the other end Ellis Wilson-Joseph put Dave Hodges away with a sophisticated ball inside the opposing full back but Hodges was adjudged offside. Then Jamie Byatt, through on the goalkeeper, saw his final effort saved. But just after the half hour Thompson made his mark.
Juevan Spencer made progress down the right, pulling the ball back to the "substitute" just outside the six yard box. Thompson carefully guided the ball home. Five minutes later he went one better. A dangerous move down the left initiated by Hodges saw the ball find its way across the box. Thompson's shot into the top corner was probably his best of the season. "Two - nil to the Casuals", sang the faithful behind the goal.
In the second half Casuals looked confident but ten minutes in conceded an unexpected goal from a corner. headed through a packed goalmouth by Crawley Down's central defender Sinclair-Smith. But within minutes Hodges' left foot corner from the right confused home keeper Badiali at the near post and in it went. Then Mario Quiassaca, on for Byatt, combined brilliantly with Dudley up briefly in attack. The defender, put through on the right, drove the ball home, his second goal within the month; so 4 - 1 to the visitors.
By now Michael Falm was on for Spencer and Mahrez Bettache for Wilson-Joseph, giving manager Matt Howard the chance to run the rule over two more recent signings. Bettache 20, formerly with Fulham then Woking, quickly impressed with his control and movement. But the only goal came from the home team; a free kick from the right somehow eluded Danny Bracken giving Crawley Down's Lansdale an easy chance. In the dying moments Bettache put Thompson away with a real opening for his hat-trick. But it wasn't to be. Still Casuals went happily on their way with only one defeat in the last eight games and now up to 18th in the League, four places above the dreaded drop zone.
Team: D.Bracken; T.Williams, M.Gutteridge, D.Dudley, J.Hicks (C); S.Sankoh, J.Spencer (M.Bettache 70'), E.Wilson-Joseph(M.Falm 70'); J.Byatt(M.Quiassaca 65') , J.Thompson, D.Hodges. Subs not used: S.Goddard, M.Nsubuga.